Cicero: “0 magna vis veritatis, quae contra hominum ingenia, calliditatem, sollertiam facillime se per ipsam defendit
|November 20, 2011||Posted by webmaster under All text of Schweitzer Quest Jesus, chapter nine||
Of these problems there were three. The first was composed of the related questions regarding miracle and myth; the second concerned the connexion of the Christ of faith with the Jesus of history; the third referred to the relation of the Gospel of John to the Synoptists.
It was the first that attracted most attention; more than half the critics devoted themselves to it alone. Even so they failed to get a thorough grasp of it. The only thing that they clearly see is that Strauss altogether denies the miracles; the full scope of the mythological explanation as applied to the traditional records of the life of Jesus, and the extent of the historical material which Strauss is prepared to accept, is still a riddle to them. That is in some measure due, it must in fairness be said, to the arrangement of Strauss’s own work, in which the unconnected series of separate investigations makes the subject unnecessarily difficult even for one who wishes to do the author justice.
The attitude towards miracle assumed in the anti-Strauss literature shows how far the anti-rationalistic reaction had carried professedly scientific theology in the direction of supernaturalism. Some significant symptoms had begun to show themselves even in Hase and Schleiermacher of a tendency towards the overcoming of rationalism by a kind of intellectual gymnastic which ran some risk of falling into insincerity. The essential character of this new kind of historical theology first came to light when Strauss put it to the question, and forced it to substitute a plain yes or no for the ambiguous phrases with which this school had only too quickly accustomed itself to evade the difficulties of the problem of miracle. The mottoes with which this new school of theology adorned the works which it sent forth against the untimely troubler of their peace manifest its complete perplexity, and display the coquettish resignation with which the sacred learning of the time essayed to cover its nakedness, after it had succumbed to the temptation of the serpent insincerity. Adolf Harless of Erlangen chose the melancholy saying of Pascal: “Tout tourne bien pour les élus, jusqu’aux obscurités de 1’écriture, car ils les honorent à cause des clartés divines qu’ils y voient; et tout tourne en mal aux reprouvés, jusqu’aux clartés, car ils les blasphement à cause des obscurites qu’ils n’entendent pas.”
Herr Wilhelm Hoffmann, deacon at Winnenden, selected Bacon’s aphorism: “Animus ad amplitudinem mysteriorum pro modulo suo dilatetur, non mysteria ad angustias animi constringantur.” (Let the mind, so far as possible, be expanded to the greatness of the mysteries, not the mysteries contracted to the compass of the mind.)
Professor Ernst Osiander, of the seminary at Maulbronn, appeals to Cicero: “0 magna vis veritatis, quae contra hominum ingenia, calliditatem, sollertiam facillime se per ipsam defendit.” (0 mighty power of truth, which against all the ingenious devices, the craft and subtlety, of men, easily defends itself by its own strength!)
 “Everything turns to the advantage of the elect, even to the obscurities of scripture, for they treat them with reverence because of its perspicuities; everything turns to the disadvantage of the reprobate, even to the perspicuities of scripture, for they blaspheme them because they cannot understand its obscurities.” For the title of Harless’s essay, see end of previous note.
 Das Leben-Jesu kritisch bearbeitet van Dr. D. F. Strauss. Geprüft für Theologen und Nicht-Theologen, von Wilhelm Hoffmann. 1836. (Strauss’s Critical Study of the Life of Jesus examined for the Benefit of Theologians and non-Theologians.)
 Apologie des Lebens Jesu gegenüber dem neuesten Versuch, es in Mythem aufzulösen. (Defence of the Life of Jesus against the latest attempt to resolve it into myth.) By Joh. Ernst Osiander, Professor at the Evangelical Seminary at Maulbronn.
Albert Schweitzer's The Quest of the Historical Jesus
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